The ProLife Team Podcast 135 | Mindy Lefaucheur & Frank Pavone

A discussion led by Frank Pavone with Mindy Lefaucheur.


The transcript was automatically generated and may contain errors.

Welcome Mindy and Father Frank to the Pro-Life Team podcast. In this episode, we’re going to try something new where Father Frank Pavone will be asking the questions and driving our podcast through stories and ideas. And so so Mindy, go ahead and introduce yourself. And then Father Frank, yeah, please introduce yourself and then let’s go ahead and try out this new podcast format. Wonderful. Well, hi, I’m Mindy Lefeshore. I am the founder and president of An Even Place.

We do virtual abortion recovery ministry. We are a standalone ministry. I’ve been doing this particular ministry for two years. We’ve had a little around 50 women come through and complete a group in the last two years. And just, it’s been really exciting to see what God is doing. So I’m excited to be here to get to share more.

And forgive me, I’ve got a little drink. Well, thanks, Jacob. And thanks, Mindy.

Thank you so much, both of you. Yeah, this is always exciting to speak about these things. For those that don’t know me, I’m a Pro-Life leader, Frank Pavone. I head up a group called Priests for Life and been doing so full time for 30 years. We are one of the largest Pro-Life groups in the world, and we cover a lot of different branches of Pro-Life activity, including what Mindy just mentioned, healing people from the wounds of abortion and reaching out to those who might feel tempted to abort and giving them the hope and the strength they need to choose life. So I’m very happy to be part of this.

And Jacob, thanks for the offer of collaboration. You do a great job with these podcasts. I’ve been following your work for years, and you and I have been collaborating on a number of projects. So very, very honored to be part of this today. Mindy, let’s start from the beginning. You know, everybody has a story about how they got involved in such a volatile issue as abortion. And, you know, the Lord leads all of us to discover what He wants us to do in regard to this issue.

How, what was your story? How did you get involved in doing this important work? Yeah, well, when I got saved in 1997, I was, I had never, I didn’t grow up in church. I didn’t have any context for Christianity whatsoever. And I was sitting in church and I had three abortions in my past, didn’t know what to do, didn’t know how to talk about it, didn’t know I could. And actually, when I, in the very, very, very beginning, right after I got saved, I got, I plunged right into Bible studies and prayer groups and, you know, all these things. I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I was just becoming a part of it.

And at night though, I would lay in my bed and I’d hear things like, God can’t love you because you killed His kids. And those people will never understand you.

They’re not like you. And I didn’t know what spiritual warfare was. I didn’t know that we were equal at the cross. I didn’t know there was grace and weapons of warfare. I just, I had no clue, was so fresh into Christianity and my biggest fear was being rejected.

So I said, okay, I’ll leave. It’s easy. Before they reject me, I’ll walk away. And so I did, but I was miserable. And as the scripture says, a dog, you know, returning to his vomit, it’s basically what I did. And it was miserable. It was familiar, but I, it was no longer comfortable.

And I kind of lived in that lifestyle for about a year again. And then, um, just really felt like I really wanted to go back to the Lord. I had tasted and seen that God was good. I had experienced the grace of God, but I just didn’t know how to live in that kind of love. I really didn’t understand what love was still. And so I went back, I returned to church. Um, I was in a different state at that time.

I returned to church and I just began to, you know, know more about God. And all of a sudden I heard about this thing called a pregnancy center. And I thought, I never heard of that before. And I thought, well, I gotta go hell. I gotta go tell people not to have abortions. You know, somehow it was mentioned in the, when they talked about it. So I walked in the door that evening and I just, I said, you know what?

I want to help. And she said, well, tell me a little bit about your story. And I did. And it was the first time I told my story in a consecutive order. And I just ended up in a ball of tears. And she said, I think you need to go through this Bible study called forgiven and set free.

And I was like, okay. And so I went through it looking back, I was probably one of the most frustrating participants because I was still attached to my old ways in life. I wasn’t very, I was serious, but I wasn’t serious. I was committed, but I wasn’t committed. You know, I was kind of all over the place. Although I will say that study helped me to see the old Testament, the new Testament come together. It helped me to understand God’s heart for me.

You know, it helped me to gain a love for reading scripture that wouldn’t get fully developed for a few years, but it certainly was a good starting point. It was a very good discipleship tool. And I wanted to get involved, but God shut the door. And so, gosh, that was in about, I don’t know for sure, 99, 2000. So some 15 years later, we moved and we’re in where we’re at now in Tennessee and we were at church and they said, oh, there’s this pregnancy center down the road. And I find that it was only a year and a half old. And I thought, well, I’ll go and see if they need any help.

And God opened the door. I was going to do abortion recovery with them. And I did, I shouldn’t say gonna, that was my goal was to do abortion recovery. But with every new ministry, there’s always lots of things to do. You know, even with established ministries, there’s lots of hats to wear and lots of things to do. And I, I’m just one of those that said, well, I’ll get busy. I can do this.

I can do that. And I started doing everything. And so I got into the work that way. And then long story short, I burned out because I was in the wrong strength. You know, I was doing things for the wrong motivation, but took some time off from that. And the Lord, he put a call on my life in 2016 to do a standalone abortion recovery ministry. But at that time, it didn’t make sense.

Cause I thought, why would I do that when the pregnancy center is established? Why would I start all over? You know, it didn’t make sense. And so I told him, no, no, that’s not going to happen. And I was actually in 2018, I was the regional coordinator for silent no more. And the zoom thing was becoming a thing. And I, I thought, I wonder if, you know, we could do zoom groups and help these people that are in these small towns, you know, not be in the same social circles as other people.

So I called Georgette Forney and I said, what do you think about this? And she’s like, I don’t know, you know, and I thought, yeah, it’s probably a bad idea. And I think she may have said, let’s revisit it later, but you know, it just really wasn’t a thing. And, you know, in-person abortion recovery was so important that taking it online just seemed like a big stretch, but then COVID hit and that just changed the landscape for everything for all of us. And, you know, so with COVID, by that time I was taking a sabbatical, if you will, I was taking a break, but the Lord renewed the call he had in my life in the fall of 2021.

And we got started here in January, 2022. Beautiful journey. You know, it’s, it’s amazing how out of our own sinfulness, out of our own pain, God makes us healers of others. It echoes something that I always like to say in my own talks, we who reject abortion do not reject those who have had abortions. We welcome them with grace and mercy and love and peace. And that’s, that’s such an important aspect, isn’t it, of the whole Pro-Life message for everyone who believes in this cause to be able to articulate, whether it’s the pastor preaching about the issue or even the legislator advocating for a Pro-Life bill or, or, or just the ordinary Pro-Life citizen marching and discussing about the issue. And it’s just, we who reject abortion do not reject those who’ve had abortion.

You said in terms of your own situation, did you say you had three abortions? I did. Yes. And how far apart were they, Mindy, from one another? The first abortion I had was in 1990. Yeah, I believe 1990. The second two were pretty close together and they were where I was here at that time going to school.

And so there was like 96, anywhere from 95 to 97. I’m not exactly sure the dates of those two, but it was right in that time frame. And, you know, I asked this, I asked this because I was wondering if you could shed a little bit of light on, on, on this. You’ve been involved, as you mentioned, in our Silent No More campaign. And I want our listeners to, to know a little bit more about that too. But one of the things we find in, in Silent No More and also in Rachel’s Vineyard, both of which I’m privileged to be pastoral director for, that we say to people, you know, healing is urgent in and of itself because our brothers and sisters who’ve been harmed by abortion need that healing and we want to bring them to it because we love them and the Lord loves them.

So that’s priority number one. But we also point this out, and I wonder if you would give us your insights about this, that the sooner a person comes to healing, the sooner a person can deal with in this, in the presence of God, why they had an abortion and how they can get back to God’s peace, the less likelihood there is that they’ll get another one. In other words, the sooner we can bring people to healing, the more we can prevent repeat abortions. So with, with, with the, with the testimony that you’ve, you’ve shared with us about yourself, what do you say in regard to that?

Gosh, I agree 100%. I, the years between my first and second abortion, I was just a mess. Everything I was doing prior to my first abortion just got enhanced after because I was a mess. I knew what abortion was. I knew, well, let me say this. I knew what pregnancy was. My mom was a neonatal nurse or a NICU nurse, and I knew what pregnancy was.

I’d been up to her unit in Denver and we saw little babies that were the size of the palm of our hands, you know, surviving and living. So I never believed the lie that it was a clump of cells, but because I was such a mess, I had no direction. I had no true north, if you will. I had nothing in my life guiding me, but, but me, you know, we often say in this world, I hear, I hear it a lot in our culture, um, be true to your heart, trust your heart, you know, what is your truth? And I, I just, I, I cringe when I hear those statements because it’s those things that drove me to my second abortion, drove me to the lifestyle I was in. It, it, there, there is no truth in myself with apart from God that’s lasting, that has an anchor in it. And so getting healing, had I been open to it, and, and I will say that I don’t know if I would have been open to it, but I know if we can reach these women as soon as we can, as soon as they’re ready, because right, they’re not always ready right away, we’re going to help them with tools and understanding, help them unlock this cycle of shame that they’re in for, you know, bring them to the Lord, help them disciple them in the truths of God.

And now they’re going to have tools, they’re going to have this truth that should be, and I say should be because nothing’s a hundred percent, right? Be a barrier to it, repeat abortion, because now they’re like, wait a second, I’ve already been there and I’ve tasted freedom. Why would, and honestly, usually it’s a sexual encounter of some kind that you’re trying to cover up, right? And oftentimes there’s a sexual encounter that we’ve had that we’re trying to cover up with the sex outside of marriage, you know, whatever that is. And hopefully it’s going to stop that too. So it’s going to stop the whole cycle by applying truth to the life, right? Getting them on a new cycle, a healthy cycle.

Healing is, that’s right. Healing is never about just one specific sin that we’ve committed. It’s always about a renewal of our entire life in all its dimensions. And that’s why it’s a lifelong journey too, isn’t it? I mean, we have, for example, the Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats, you may have a healing Bible study or a series of gatherings for the study, but whatever it is, and there’s the one-on-one counseling people may undergo for a period of time. But whenever those events or those gatherings or those periods of counseling finish, the journey of healing continues, doesn’t it? And it really is just like just our growth in discipleship.

It is lifelong until God calls us to the next life. Yes. A hundred percent. And speaking of that healing, because you’re talking about the layers of healing, because abortion, these are our children. We’re forever knit to these children, linked to these children. And we are governed by events, seasons, milestones, times, and changes. We’re governed by these things in our life naturally.

We don’t even think about them anymore. And just by way of example, working at the Pregnancy Center, sharing my story so much, working with Silent No More, sharing my story on the steps of the Supreme Court, all of these things, helping women go through recovery, have worked a piece of my healing, kept taking off another layer of healing. And so when I was on a break in the spring of 2020, all of a sudden I started to think about the children, the grandchildren that I would never meet, the spouses of those kids that I would never meet, the friends, the bigger circle, all the people in my life that I would never meet. And I kind of sat in this and it wasn’t wasn’t fun to think about.

It was sad. It was very sad.

But it took me a while to realize, oh my goodness, I’m just going through another layer of healing. My body’s taking me through it. I didn’t consciously start considering this. This is my body, because at the age that I was, I very likely would have been a grandmother. I very likely would have had daughter-in-laws. So it was just something that naturally came about. And it was just another layer in the healing process, in the grieving process of what I will never have. Right. As you know, we call this the shockwaves of abortion, just the many layers, the concentric circles, if you will, of different people that are harmed by the abortion.

And it’s intergenerational as well. And the different relationships in our lives that end up getting healed. So day to day, practically, what does your healing ministry entail? How do you reach the people who need the healing? And then once you’re connected with them, walk us through the steps that you take them through to find this healing. Yeah. How they’re finding us really is by an act of the Lord at this point, because I’m not putting a lot into advertising.

I didn’t have a strong social media presence prior to starting this ministry, because it’s not a place I like to be out and engage people with. That’s not how I like to talk to people. And so it was really a lot of networking, getting to know people and getting referrals that way. I had some people find me by Google. I had a few find me by social media, but it was friends. It was people finding other organizations that knew I was doing virtual. So the biggest thing I think was the networking, working with the H3 helpline and Terry Baxter and getting referrals from them.

So that’s how people were finding me. This year, we had 50 women on our waiting list. And so I have a couple of leaders now willing to help me share that load of doing groups throughout the year. And I put out a text to them and just said, hey, we got some groups starting. And I had several respond from that. And I just had several women come in.

God just keeps bringing them into me. And I’m just really blown away by that. But when they come in, generally speaking, they come in through the website. It’s a very short intake.

It’s just very few questions. I’m trying to make it easy as possible to connect. I just want to know the basics about them, how much healing they have. And it’s like a multiple choice in their name and stuff like that. And then we reach out to them within 24 to 48 hours. It depends on the day of the week. And just say, hey, thank you for reaching out.

It took a lot of courage. We’d love to connect. What’s a good day and time for you? And then we have that call. That call generally turns into an intake call, which is about anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, because we have a lengthy, at that point, intake. We’re letting them share their story. We’re gathering some information that we want to know about them.

Because the idea of the intake call is, one, for them to be heard. But the second idea is to understand where they’re at to make sure we’re the right fit for them. So I don’t take people and talk to them and then just hold on to them and make them wait for my group. If they need a group and I don’t have one starting, I’ll find a group for them. That’s the other thing that the networking has done, is I can now refer out. But also, I want to know, do they want a strong faith-based healing?

Where is their faith? Because for many years, as you know, most of the women coming forward had been sitting in church for decades with this secret, and then they came forward. So they had a good foundation. But you know now we’re getting a lot of women that are coming forward that are like two days out from their abortion and they’re just, you know, still they’re grieving.

They’re still having hormone issues. Or they’re two years from their abortion and they’re still in this serious stage of grief and they just can’t, they can’t eat, if you will, that spiritual food that Forgiven and Set Free offers. So we need to know, I want to know who’s doing other studies and where can we send them, you know, if that’s what they need. And so we’re trying to assess their need because I don’t, I don’t, I don’t consider them mine.

I just want them healed. That’s the way I look at it. So we do the intake. If they…

Right, they’re the Lords. Yes, they are. And so we’ll assign them to a group if they’re ready for a group with us, or I’ll refer them. And we try to refer them in a very, we don’t just say, here’s a number, give them a call. I’ll call that person first, say, hey, do you got some groups starting and find out who’s got groups, and then try to do a warm connection with them so that, you know, they’re being handed off well is the goal. Mindy, how do you explain to people who might have in their mind the question of what’s the benefit of being in a group for this healing as opposed to one-on-one counseling? Yeah, gosh.

You know, I think there’s benefit of both, to be quite honest. I think I don’t shy away from one-on-one because some women just really need it. And I kind of let the Lord determine that.

So if we get a… I do a two-day intensive by virtual. And if I get a woman signed up and God brings nobody else, I make the assumption that the Lord wants her to have some extra time, you know, focus time. But the group benefit is just so powerful because you get to, especially if you haven’t identified all those feelings and all that stuff, and usually you don’t, it’s usually just a great big tangled up mess in your brain and in your heart, right? So the group, you get to hear other people put words to things that you’re like, oh, yes, that helps me identify what I’ve been feeling, what I’ve been thinking. I thought I was all alone.

I’m no longer alone. Okay, we are in this together. And there is hope for healing. And so the group helps to draw each other. And really the biggest purpose of our group is discipleship. We just do it with abortion healing as the vehicle. So… Yeah, yeah.

You were led, of course, as a member of Silent No More to share your testimony. What was it like the first time? I mean, you did it at our gatherings. And of course, in 2024, we’re once again doing the big gathering at the steps of the Supreme Court after the March for Life. But what was it like for you the first time you stepped in front of that big crowd and took that courageous step of speaking about your own abortion? I don’t remember the first time. And I think it was probably smaller groups.

You know, the first time as I started sharing about my story long before I got involved and long before I started doing abortion recovery healing, when I had opportunity. I guess I always… The one thing that I remember when I first got saved, you can remember I shared that I had no context for Christianity. And so I had these lies going around in my head, you know, that these people aren’t like you, they’ll never understand you, right? And not understanding that we’re all the same at the cross. And one of the things that God kind of showed me then, and I didn’t really grasp it for many, many years, was the need for transparency in the body of Christ. And that, you know, we don’t just come to church and everything’s okay.

A lot of us are dealing with a lot of things, and it’s okay to not be okay. And we need to help embrace each other because some people are coming, putting on a face because they don’t know it’s safe to share about something that a sin that they’re actually struggling with, or the results of the sin that they’re struggling with. And they really need to talk about it. They need somebody to help walk them through that. And without that openness, we don’t know where it’s safe, especially with abortion, we just don’t know where it’s safe to go and talk. And so with that, and when I returned to the church, I kind of vowed somewhere in my mind and in my heart that I would share my story. Not that I’m the best speaker, but I know that when I get in front of people, I still don’t like sharing that I had three abortions.

I still cringe at that, but it’s important that I do because so many women will come forward and say they’ve had an abortion when they’ve had multiples. And we need to acknowledge all sin for there to be a cleansing, right? We cannot hide these things. And it helps those that has multiples to come forward and feel like they can come forward and share this with somebody because they’re safe. So it just brings everything to the light. And they’re my children. I don’t want to hide them.

I don’t want to put them in a closet anymore. That’s right. Every one of them, every one of them is your child. Yes. Well, what are some of the things that the most encouraging stories or encounters that you’ve had in the course of helping so many people on the journey of healing? Gosh. Gosh, there’s so many.

So it’s watching the, I mean, overall, if I can say it’s almost addicting, I think to do this kind of ministry, it’s such a privilege because I know that there’s very few of us that are privileged to walk this journey with women, but it’s to watch in general, to watch them come in fearful, anxious, apprehensive, you know, unsure of what they’re going to experience, you know, not wanting to go back and look at the past, just like, I’m just forgiven. Let’s move on. But forgiveness and healing are often two different events. And so to watch them come in and, you know, their countenance is low, they’re hesitant, you know, and then by the end, you know, they’re joyful, they’re voluntarily smiling.

They’re just, their countenance is lifted. There’s just a shift. There was one lady that came through an intensive last year. She, wow, her story is just amazing because she, she came in like that. And literally she was, I had never seen somebody look so, you could just wear it on her face and she wore it and she had a lot of physical ailments as well. Somewhere in the middle of, it was a two-day intensive, somewhere in the middle of that, all of a sudden we were, I was talking to, or one of the other participants was talking to the co-leader. I don’t even know, but it wasn’t her, but she just interrupted and she says, Oh my gosh.

And she, she buried her head in her hands and we all didn’t know what was going on. We just sat there and she said, I just realized it just hit me. It was like a light bulb went on in her head.

I am not my abortion. It was an event. It’s not who I am. And it just caused her such, the next time she came in, cause we were in intensive. So we do a session break, a session break. And we went to break shortly after that. And the next time we came in, that was a completely different woman that we were looking at.

It was so, so beautiful to see that. That’s such a perfect, that’s just a perfect story because that very phrase was going through my mind earlier in our conversation. I was gonna bring that up, that those of us who do abortion recovery work know that that’s one of the key insights that the people we’re helping need to come to. I am not my abortion. My abortion is a reality. It’s an evil. I face it.

I don’t minimize it, but it does not define me. It does not consume me. It does not stop any of the other good that’s in my life or that God wants me to do.

Such a beautiful, pivotal insight. And that’s a beautiful story how that person so dramatically in front of everybody came to that insight. And it’s along those lines. It’s along those lines that I wanna ask this final question, then we’ll turn it back to Jacob. And it’s this, that there are many that are watching us who are pro-life leaders themselves, who are helping to run pregnancy centers, or maybe they have abortion recovery ministries themselves. What would you say to our colleagues, essentially, in this movement that you think might be new to a lot of them or maybe something they don’t realize, and maybe they’re leaders in pro-life, but they haven’t had the kind of interaction that you and I have had with the people who’ve actually been through abortion. What final thought or insight would you share to them or something that maybe they do know it, but you would really wanna especially emphasize as we all go forward in doing this work? Yeah. I think it’s that we cannot give what we don’t have already.

And so that just goes to guarding our quiet time. This work is so busy. There’s so much to do.

There’s so much need. There’s urgency in the work, whether we’re in the pregnancy center playing offense and preventing, or we’re in abortion recovery playing defense and catching those who are hurt and getting them back into play. But we cannot give what we don’t have, we must create space for margin that the Lord can come in and speak and work and clear and clean, and where we stay humble and we remember that it’s not what we can offer, it’s what He can do through us, and then great things happen. And I say that because that’s how I burned out is I operated in my own strength. Right, right. Yeah, that’s an important part of your story, a good reminder for all of us. And we need the Lord, we need rest, we need one another, we need that downtime, we need personal time, and obviously we need prayer.

And it’s on that note, if I may, that I’d like to offer prayer for you and for your work. And I’m sure that many of our viewers right now will feel the same way that they just wanna cover you in prayer. And thank you so much for sharing about your own personal journey and about this important work that the Lord has given you. But let’s turn to Him now and ask His continued protection and fruitfulness to our labors. So Father, we thank you for Mindy and we thank you for, first of all, the healing, the grace, the salvation, the peace that you have restored her to. Lord, we each have our sins, we each have our burdens, and every one of these stories can encourage us to turn to you as our own Savior also from the many wounds and sins we have. So thank you, Lord, for Mindy’s witness, for the graces that you’ve given her.

And thank you now for her response to the call to do this work, to bring your grace, your healing, Lord God, can only come through the cross of Christ to so many people. Give success to the work of her hands. Bless those that work with her and support her. May she reach more and more and more people who are out there hurting right now, but don’t know that there is a path to healing. May she reach them. May we all work even in deeper unity and encouragement of one another to reach countless, countless, not only moms, but the dads and the grandparents and the siblings and the friends, even the abortionists, Lord, who are damaged by this terrible violence and seek healing, so many of them, for themselves.

Bless us all. And may we, in union with your grace, build the culture of life, proclaim the gospel of life, which is also the gospel of mercy. We pray in the name of the one who heals us all, Jesus Christ, our Lord, amen. Mindy, where can people find you online?

Oh, is where I’m at. And I’m on Facebook. Yeah, we have a Facebook page, but I don’t have capacity for it. So it’s, everything’s going on my personal, so they can find me, Mindy Lefeshore, on Facebook. So. Excellent, okay. And

Thank you again for your work and Jacob, we’ll turn it back over to you. And thanks again for this opportunity to collaborate on this podcast. Yeah, thank you. Thank you, Frank, this was really good. And I really appreciate you praying for Mindy. And Mindy, I appreciate you sharing your story. And I just wanna read James 5.16 as we close, which says, therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.

The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. And I feel like we demonstrated that today through confession and prayer. And that reflects the healing work being done virtually and in person. And so thank you both for being on here. And yeah, just really appreciate both of you taking the time to be on this podcast.